Sustainability and Sport

Large sports arenas are perhaps one of the most inefficient land uses out there. Large buildings, used for a handful of days a year, with oversized parking lots and traffic nightmares for the community. Since my days taking classes with David Harvey at Johns Hopkins — when we spoke about all the problems with the (then) newly opened Oriole Park at Camden Yards — I have been critical of this wave of publicly funded stadium construction.

14 35-foot microturbines installed at the stadiumSo I was a bit skeptical back in late 2010 when the Philadelphia Eagles were trying to be the first net-zero energy stadium. Then, when the deal with SolarBlue fell through, I wasn’t surprised. But last spring, the Eagles once again announced a plan to install solar and wind facilities at Lincoln Financial Field — this time with Princeton-based NRG. And this time things are moving forward.

11000 solar panels affixed to Lincoln Financial FieldI had a chance today to take a tour of the stadium, as part of the Campus Sustainability Week activities here at Temple. And I have to admit that I was impressed. A few details:

  • Everything used in the stadium — all the way down to the beverage cups, hot dog wrappers, and beer cans (no more plastic) is either recyclable or compostable. Both are taken to off-site facilities for reprocessing.
  • The team makes green sourcing (paint, carpets, etc.) a condition of any RFP they issue.
  • And for what the team can’t control (tailgate trash), waste is separated and brought to a nearby cogeneration facility.

The result: 99.89% of waste is diverted from landfill.

Now, all of this isn’t going to make me an Eagles fan, but I have to say I’m very impressed by their result at Going Green.

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2 thoughts on “Sustainability and Sport

  1. Bradley J. Flamm

    Glad you put these ideas down, Jeff. And I’m glad to be introduced to this TU blogging site. Didn’t know it existed!

    One question: Did your tour guides address in the energy and GHG emissions that go into getting fans and staff to and from the stadium on a game day? Would be interesting to know what the impacts of transport are and if, down the road, they’ll consider ways to mitigate / offset that part of their operations.

    1. Jeffrey Doshna Post author

      They didn’t specifically talk about that issue, but they did mention that the team buys carbon offsets — as well as having planted a number of trees in a local park — to offset their own travel. So they’re at least thinking about it.

      The next topic they are planning to address: water.

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